June 26, 2016

my favourite books

As I write this, I am in my pjs lying in my warm bed on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Strewn on my bed are heaps of pillows, blankets and books and I have a Mr. Big bar and a lukewarm coffee waiting for me on my nightstand. This is an ideal Saturday in my mind, and the perfect time and place to write about the books I've been loving lately. So settle in to your favourite comfy spot and open up your Goodreads cause I have a list of heartwarming/heartbreaking books that I think you need to read.

Room by Emma Donoghue

I feel like most people know how good this book is by now, but it has been my favourite book ever since I read it 5 years ago so I absolutely had to include it on this list. My heart was broken to pieces by this fictional five year old and also stitched back together throughout the course of this book. Although I distinctly remember after I finished I felt subtly different from when I first began, so maybe my heart wasn't stitched back together in the same way. That is the only way I can describe this book.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Another book that will break your heart and then stitch it back together again. I read this after I had taken an Indigenous Perspectives of Health class which brought to light the complexity behind the challenges Junior and his family face. However, this book mostly reminded me that honesty is so important when communicating with kids and adolescents, even though being honest can be so much messier.

How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford

I was looking for young adult books (honestly my favourite genre) that didn't focus on a romantic relationship between the two main characters when I stumbled across this book, and I am so glad I did. This book is just SO GOOD and totally unlike anything I've ever read before. I wish I could hang out with Robot Girl and Ghost Boy.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

I think this book should be required reading for everyone on Earth, but especially if you spend/will spend any amount of time with kids of any age. This book is definitely happysad but more so happy, it leaves you on an encouraging note. I cannot recommend this book enough.

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

I'm about halfway through this book right now and it's already one of my favourites, as soon as I read the first chapter I knew I was hooked. It's written from two different perspectives and Noah's perspective in particular is written in such a dynamic and unique way that makes everything about the story seem so alive. Plus it's about twins and when I was younger I used to wish that I was part of a twin, so the inside scoop on being a twin is a bonus.

June 24, 2016

skin care

Sometime in the last few years, skincare has become a Big Deal to me. I've always been blessed with pretty non-reactive skin, getting the occasional pimple in my teen years and having a disgustingly oily T zone for a long time, but overall I had combination skin that didn't seem too irritable. However, around 2 or 3 years ago, I was having a tough time with my depression resurfacing and my skin took a real hit. I think I was stress eating and trying out new skincare products at the same time, which in retrospect seems like a risky combination just because I had a tendency to break out because of my stress eating diet anyways, and I couldn't really assess the real impact of the products.

I remember trying out some kind of lavender-scented face scrub from Lush for a few days straight, and I think that was the final step in really leading to some of the worst months of my life in terms of skin. I broke out very badly, and for the first time I got acne scarring. I was embarrassed and insecure about my skin, and vowed to both never use Lush face products again, and to just never use skincare products again without researching them first.

 And so, after much research and many months, I've developed a skincare routine that is perfect for me and has helped my acne scars heal significantly. My skin is now happy, healthy, and glowing! Here is a list of the products I'm using right now, some new things I've been trying out, and why I like each of them.


Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser, $6.97 on Amazon.ca 
This cleanser is a pretty standard one but I think it does its job really well. I usually like to double cleanse, so that means I use olive or baby oil first to scrub my makeup off, and then I clean it all off with some of this.


Paula's Choice 2% Salicylic Acid Liquid Exfoliator, 4oz for $28
This exfoliator is the love of my life. I honestly think this was the key product that has helped my acne scarring and my oily T-zone as well. A little bit goes a long way, and I tried the trial size before I used this. However, unless you're getting the trial size free like I did, I don't think it's worth shelling out $9 for just because it's so small. I would get the full size and just make the return if it doesn't work for you, or even better, try the really small sample size. You can also use this link to get $10 off, and they have free shipping pretty often!


My skin is still combination so I use different products depending on what it needs.

Cerave Facial Moisturizing Lotion, SPF 30, $27.65 on Amazon.ca
I wear this moisturizer/sunscreen every. Single. Day. It's SPF 30, and although I've heard that you need to have a white film left on your skin in order for sunscreen to be at its most effective, I feel like that's a bit impossible to do on your face (especially if you're as dark as me) and I think this still does a pretty good job of moisturizing. It's lightweight and unscented, which sold it for me, next to its affordable price tag! (It's way cheaper at your local drugstore than it is on Canadian Amazon. I believe I bought mine for around $10.)

Paula's Choice PC4Men Night-time Repair Cream, 1.7oz for $27
Honestly speaking, this thing is a bit pricey for my usual budget, but it is so worth it. This formula is super lightweight and perfect for summer. It doesn't feel greasy at all, and I use it during the day sometimes as well--with sunscreen as well of course.

Paula's Choice Resist Anti Aging Serum, 1oz for $36
This stuff is so luxurious. I only use it once in a while ('cause of dat price tag) when my skin is in need of a real boost, and it feels very smooth and light. I think if I used it more regularly, in combination with the exfoliator it would work really well to give me smooth skin.

That's about it for my regular skincare routine--I don't use toner because I think exfoliator does essentially the same thing and I also think it's better to keep my routine simple. I use an eye cream and a spot cream occasionally (both from Paula's Choice, my holy grail), but it's pretty rare. Here are also some new products I've been trying, and what I think of them! 

Rose Face Mask by Fresh, 100ml for $72

I got this mask as a birthday gift from Sephora, and excuse my language but it's the shit. It makes my skin SO happy. I apply a really thin layer on my face, let it sit for around 10 minutes, and wash it off. Baby skin for the next few days!

Organic Coconut Oil by Nutriva, $12.99 for 14oz
I've been using organic coconut oil as a very gentle cleanser, and I have to say I really like it. I use this to remove my makeup at the end of the day, and then use my other cleanser to remove the oil from my face to leave some baby-soft skin. Once in a while I've tried leaving coconut oil on as a moisturizer overnight, but I haven't really liked that as much as using my regular moisturizers. I do like to use this to moisturize my super dry and relatively pasty legs though. Baby-soft, I'm telling you.